Judge considers DNA testing request by alleged Charles Manson grandson

LOS ANGELES — A judge Thursday took under submission a request by a former Charles Manson pen pal for DNA testing of a man who says he is the late cult leader’s grandson.

Michael Channels wants Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Clifford Klein to order the DNA testing of 43-year-old Jason Freeman to determine whether Freeman’s assertion of kinship is true. Freeman told the judge in December that he would not voluntarily agree to it, but would obey a court order to do so.

Klein said he wants to study the issues further and set another hearing for Oct. 11.

Meanwhile, attorney Dale Kiken will remain in his previously appointed role as temporary special administrator over Manson’s estate. Kiken originally was appointed to the role in August 2018, giving him authority to protect Freeman’s interests.

Kiken is tasked with recovering property, on behalf of Freeman, that Manson left behind in prison when he died at age 83 on Nov. 19, 2017, at Bakersfield Mercy Hospital of heart failure triggered by colon cancer that had spread to other parts of his body.

In his court papers, Channels said Manson’s 2002 will, filed in Kern County in November 2017, names him as the executor of Manson’s estate. A trial will be held on the competing petitions by Kiken and Channels to be the estate’s permanent administrator. A trial date has not been set.

Freeman won a significant court victory when a Kern County commissioner ruled in March 2018 that he was entitled to Manson’s remains. Freeman and Kiken maintain that a 2002 Manson will Channels alleges he possesses is a forgery.

Kiken’s lawyer, Alan Davis, said the Kern County order established that Freeman was Manson’s grandson. In his court papers opposing the DNA testing of Freeman, Davis stated that in February 1986, an Ohio judge found that Freeman was the son of Charles Manson Jr., who committed suicide in June 1993.

Davis said after Thursday’s hearing that he believes Klein is being cautious in making his ruling, given that the Ohio judge made his ruling after finding that Manson Jr. defaulted by not showing up for that hearing.

Klein raised the issue of whether Channels was entitled to notice of the Ohio hearing. But Davis told the judge he does not believe Channels has standing to say he should have been notified or to raise objections now.

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